Why Location Matters in Real Estate: The Case for Gulf Beaches

Why Location Matters in Real Estate: The Case for Gulf Beaches

When buying a property, the old adage “location, location, location” rings particularly true. Location determines not only your living experience but also the value of your investment. One area that consistently ranks high in terms of both lifestyle and investment potential is the Gulf Beaches region.

The Gulf Beaches region offers a unique combination of pristine beaches, vibrant local culture, robust economic growth, and thriving real estate market. Buying a home here ensures a high-quality lifestyle and solid returns on your investment.

Navigating the property market in such a sought-after location can be challenging, and this is where Keller Williams Gulf Beaches comes in. Their expert agents, armed with in-depth knowledge of the local market, can help you identify the best properties in line with your preferences and budget.

Keller Williams Gulf Beaches also understands the dynamics of living in the Gulf Beaches region. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront property, a home within walking distance of top-rated schools, or a property with excellent rental potential, their team can guide you to the perfect fit.

Moreover, they provide expert assistance in understanding property taxes, insurance, and local laws that are unique to the Gulf Beaches region, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for all aspects of home ownership in this area.

Real Estate 101: The Essentials of Property Investment and the Role of a Reliable Realtor

Real Estate 101: The Essentials of Property Investment and the Role of a Reliable Realtor

In the realm of investing, real estate stands as one of the most profitable and stable sectors. Buying a home, however, is more than just an investment—it’s a major life decision that entails many important aspects. As such, partnering with a reputable realtor like Keller Williams Gulf Beaches can significantly ease your home-buying process.

Let’s start by understanding why investing in real estate is a wise move. Real estate investments are tangible assets that tend to appreciate over time. They provide a steady income stream and tax benefits while acting as a shield against inflation. Furthermore, owning a home can offer a sense of stability and financial security.

However, investing in real estate also comes with challenges. Prospective buyers need to analyze markets, assess properties, negotiate prices, secure financing, and handle paperwork. This is where Keller Williams Gulf Beaches comes in. They offer a full suite of services designed to simplify your home buying experience, from property search and price negotiation to closing the deal.

With the extensive network of Keller Williams Gulf Beaches, you will gain access to a wide range of properties that fit your unique needs and budget. Their real estate professionals possess a deep understanding of the local market trends and property values, which can help you make an informed decision.

Their role extends beyond simply finding the right property. They guide you through the complex processes of property evaluation, price negotiation, and securing the best mortgage rates. Their commitment to their clients is underscored by a client-first approach, ensuring you get the best deal possible.

In addition, Keller Williams Gulf Beaches offers ongoing support even after you’ve closed the deal. They can connect you with home maintenance professionals, assist in property management if you’re buying for investment purposes, and even help you sell your property if you decide to move in the future.

In conclusion, while real estate investment is a promising avenue to build wealth, it requires careful planning, sound judgement, and, most importantly, a reliable partner. Keller Williams Gulf Beaches, with its client-centric approach, market knowledge, and comprehensive services, can be that trusted partner in your home buying journey.

That’s a Horse of a Different Color

BMW Color Changing Car

Author: Abigail Blythe Batton

When Dorothy and her ragtag team of misfits finally arrived in the Emerald City, in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, they were escorted through the gates on a carriage attached to a horse that changed color as it walked.

This special effect had never been seen before. In fact, when Mervyn LeRoy produced The Wizard of Oz in 1939, no one had ever seen a color film before. The entire production cost $2.7 million, which, made it the most expensive film produced to date.

That film, and the horse it rode in on, became an iconic jewel in film history. But no one could predict that some 80 years later, engineers from one of the more posh car manufacturers would attempt to replicate the color-changing horse on a new car model. And they would do it on an $8 million dollar budget.

But in January of this year, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, traveled from Germany to America’s playground, Las Vegas and revealed the BMW “Neue Klasse” or “New Class” of a car at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES). It was there, in front of an eager audience, that BMW introduced the world to Dee.

Dee, which stands for Digital Emotional Experience, is special in many ways, among them, her ability to change color. Dee, BMW’s car of the future can change its color in up to 32 variations.

This type of technology feels more wizardly than engineered. But in a press release, the company explained, “I Vision Dee represents a significant evolution of the E Ink color-shifting technology.”  

The technology does not limit the car to shift into one cohesive color, from black to pink, for example. Dee’s “skin” is made from an electronic paper that acts like a film. The company that created the technology, E Ink has marketed their brainpower on smaller apparatus like e-readers and cell phones.

It’s a complicated feat that involves millions of tiny microcapsules, each with different color pigments that change shades when electricity is applied. Essentially, Dee’s body is coated in microscopic color chips that can be programmed by the owner to display mood and personality. They can appear as blocks of color, stripes and even specified shapes.

Among other implications, the I Vision Dee will finally solve the color conflicts that occur in every car dealership lot. “I want white, but my husband wants red” type of thing. Now one car can be both.

Not only does the exterior change color in thousands of variations, but the car’s owner can also create an avatar that can be projected on the driver’s side window. Having a bad hair day? Let the avatar take care of that for you.

But Zipse’s revelations didn’t stop at the gobsmacking color-shifting car. DEE also talks to the driver. The automaker said, “This means the BMW I Vision Dee can talk to people and, at the same time, express moods such as joy, astonishment, or approval visually.”

BMW displayed its “Mixed Reality Slider” which allows the driver to decide how much augmentation she wants during her driving experience. 

At its bread-and-butter position, the car will display the usual suspects on the windshield: temperature, speed, and the state of the charge. But should the driver want more interaction from Dee, she can dial up and have full use of extra information including social media feeds and, one day, digital projections of realities created by really smart engineers playing around with pixels and art. In other words, the windshield will eventually be able to display virtual scenery.

The interactive screen will be limited to use only when the car is in automatic mode, meaning self-driven. And while this may seem decades away, when MBW revealed this concept car in January, it hinted that many of the features, certainly the color-changing ones, would be available by 2025. Zipse boasted that Dee, “will bring humans and machines closer together.”

Discovering Hidden Gems: Treasure Island Florida Condos for Sale with Keller Williams Gulf Beaches

treasure island florida condos for sale

The allure of turquoise waters, golden sand beaches, and a serene lifestyle make Treasure Island, Florida, a sought-after destination for prospective homebuyers. The area, aptly named for its rich, captivating appeal, offers an array of stunning condominiums for sale, ideal for those seeking a tranquil yet luxurious coastal living experience. Amidst a myriad of real estate options, Keller Williams Gulf Beaches stands out as the premier choice for real estate services in Treasure Island.

Treasure Island’s condominiums are architectural marvels that blend modern design with tropical ambiance. These properties range from cozy apartments perfect for singles or couples, to sprawling penthouses fit for larger families, offering an array of options for potential homeowners. Each condo features contemporary amenities, including gourmet kitchens, spacious living areas, and private balconies that offer unparalleled views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Among the many benefits of owning a condo in Treasure Island is the proximity to local attractions. This paradise offers a rich tapestry of activities, from exploring its beautiful beaches, boating in the Gulf, fishing at John’s Pass, or indulging in retail therapy at the myriad of local boutiques. The vibrant nightlife, with a variety of entertainment and dining venues, ensures that there’s never a dull moment.

In this competitive real estate market, why should you choose Keller Williams Gulf Beaches? First and foremost, their extensive local knowledge sets them apart. Their experienced team of realtors, who live and breathe the Treasure Island lifestyle, are intimately familiar with the condo market in the area. They understand the unique selling points of each property and can offer invaluable guidance to buyers, ensuring a seamless home-buying experience.

Secondly, Keller Williams Gulf Beaches provides personalized service, recognizing that each buyer’s needs and desires are unique. Whether you’re seeking a quiet condo tucked away from the hustle and bustle, or a beachfront property in the heart of the action, they take the time to understand your preferences and tailor their services accordingly.

Furthermore, their commitment to integrity and transparency in their dealings fosters trust and confidence in their clients. They provide comprehensive information about each property, including its history, pricing, and any associated costs, to help buyers make an informed decision. This commitment to ethical practices has earned them a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy real estate agency.

Beyond their service, Keller Williams Gulf Beaches is also committed to leveraging technology to enhance the home-buying experience. Their user-friendly website features a comprehensive listing of available condos, complete with high-resolution images and detailed property descriptions. This digital approach allows potential buyers to explore the offerings at their own pace and shortlist properties that align with their lifestyle and budget.

Finally, their robust network within the real estate industry is a significant advantage for buyers. They have strong relationships with a range of service providers, including home inspectors, mortgage brokers, and legal experts, ensuring that every aspect of the home-buying process is covered.

In summary, the condos for sale in Treasure Island, Florida, offer an idyllic lifestyle opportunity that’s hard to pass up. Coupled with the expert guidance and personalized service provided by Keller Williams Gulf Beaches, buying a condo here becomes a dream come true. Their local expertise, integrity, and commitment to customer satisfaction make them the go-to choice for real estate in this paradise on the Gulf coast. With Keller Williams Gulf Beaches, you’re not just buying a condo; you’re discovering your very own treasure on Treasure Island.

Smooth Move: Tips for a Stress-Free Move

Moving Day

Author: Abigail Blythe Batton

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when considering a major move. The idea of packing up every single possession, having it loaded onto a truck and then reversing the process can exhaust even the most organized person. Fortunately, there are tips and tricks to moving that can decrease your anxiety and increase your fun. Yes. Fun. According to Megansmoving blog, moving day can be a good time. She suggests things like planning an unpacking party at your new place, wearing a fancy dress on moving day or creating a game or competition to bolster sagging energies late in the move.

Perhaps a fancy dress, while good fun, isn’t the most practice thing to do. Injuries are common during moves including pulled back muscles, bruised toes from dropping furniture and strained leg muscles. Experts recommend wearing long hair back in a ponytail, closed-toe shoes, comfortable clothes, and this last one is essential, clothing with pockets. Some people even suggest wearing an apron with pockets. There always seems to be some little, important item that can’t seem to find a home on a moving day.

But what about all the preparation required to get to the actual moving day? That part can feel burdensome because the sorting and the packing usually occur inside a very busy and full life. Meaning many people have to tackle deconstructing their belongings on weekends when they are tired and just want to rest. Here are a couple of tips that will help structure the packing in a way that soaks up less free time.

  1. Before any boxes even enter the house, go through each room, one drawer or closet at a time and create two piles, keep/give away pile, and the throwaway pile. This is a smash-and-grab. Perform the task quickly and try not to handle each item more than once. The goal is to fill garbage bags with things you no longer need or want that are not useful in a donation. Don’t overthink it and trust your first instincts.
  2. Once you’ve swept through your house with garbage bags, it’s time to bring in the boxes. If you have small children, occupy them by letting them decorate the boxes for their items. This will free up time in the pre-move, and also make things easier in the post move when seeking children’s items. Their boxes will be easily recognizable.
  3. Pack unnecessary or seasonal items first. No sense in packing the coffee maker only to unpack it each morning during the week of the move.
  4. Follow the flight attendant’s rule. Pack a suitcase with pajamas, two clean outfits, and spare toiletries and put it in your car. This bag is your emergency bag for those first few nights at the new house.
  5. Do the same with kitchen or bathroom essentials. Pack a special box that goes in your car, not the moving truck, with a set of dinner wear, silver wear and a roll or two of toilet paper.
  6. Consider placing colored sticky tabs on boxes to denote what room they came from.
  7. Save your coolers for the last-minute refrigerator clean-out. There is likely more in there than expected.
  8. Pack similar items together.
  9. Try to scan the house during the move. Remember to take it all in as this place held memories and love.
  10. Remember to breathe.

While moving can be stressful, there are ways to manage the chaos and even create a sense of fun during the move. Happy moving!

Hops and Happenings: A brief history of Craft Beer


Author: Abigail Blythe Batton

Although the froth over craft beer feels like a modern trend, history tells a different story. Craft Beer originated when Fritz Maytag bought the Anchorage Brewing Company in San Francisco. And and yes, he was that Maytag of the appliance fame. But despite the fortune and the trappings that come along with generational wealth, Fritz was considered a man of high character and humility. “The call me Godfather,” Fritz explained to writer Tyler Blomstrom-Moore, in an interview for SanFranPsycho, when asked about his position as the microbrewing founder. But Maytag was uncomfortable with the moniker. “I didn’t like that,” he said explaining that he worked as part of a team. 

But that was some special team. They essentially invented craft beer. Maytag remembered their big grand opening, telling Blomstrom-Moore, “We decided to throw a party to introduce people to our beer.” He said they invited everybody knew and many didn’t. All the fancy town dignitaries, including the mayor, received an invitation. But the night of the party, they discovered their beer had gone sour. Major disaster. Like the laid back brewers they were, they didn’t panic. Maytag said they went to a local buyer who had recently purchased several of their kegs and got them back for the party.

Anchor’s Brewing efforts in the 1960s germinated into the homemade microbrews of the 1970’s. This brewing craze became popular, in part, due to the magic of the American Homebrewers Association founded in 1978. One year after founding the association, they hosted their first annual Homebrewers Association competition and secured 34 entrants. By 2018, they had over 8,000 homemade brew enthusiasts. 

Craft beer brewers breezed through the 80s with little change in their demographic. But when the 1990’s arrived, corporations picked up on the national taste for craft beer. It was then that microbreweries splashed across the United States reaching close to three hundred. Today, over four thousand microbreweries operate in the nation. 

Saint Petersburg, Florida hardily embraced the growing trend when a company called Brewtastic opened up the Gulp Coast, the American version of an English pub crawl. The Gulp Coast organized beer consumption by offering a bespoke beer-tasting tour of 35 of St. Pete’s locally-owned breweries. They’ve divided their territory by region and offer three separate tours with the North, Central and South ports of call. 

The southern package covers St. Pete/Clearwater area and includes breweries such as The Pesky Pelican and Webb’s City Cellar. The craft beer trail is free of charge and easy to do. Simply download their free “passport” and then have it signed at each of the breweries visited. A completed passport may earn the traveler prizes and awards.  The Craft Beer Trail is a great way to learn about some of the over fifty craft breweries in the St. Petersburg area. 

A few tips for a night of frivolity. 

  1. Use an Uber. Within over 100 thousand Uber drivers in Florida, St. Pete/Clearwater have plenty of drivers to transport a Gulp Coast Group.
  2. Remember to order snacks at some of the bars to help balance the alcohol content and absorption rate. A full tummy makes for a happier head in the morning.
  3. Mind the pace. It’s best to have a game plan before any sort of pub crawl. Make the decision to order only one drink per establishment. This will optimize the fun and safety of the night. Pace the budget as well. Expect to pay between $8-15 dollars per pub including tip.
  4. Be selective in fashion choices. It’s not the night for those stilettos or the skirt that pinches in the waist. Wear comfortable shoes that assist with balance and protection. 
  5. Take lots of pictures. Pub Crawls can blur memories as the night marches forward. Document the fun by remembering to take pictures. Try to hold up a beer menu or stand by a sign to later identify each pub.
  6. Finally, don’t send any personal texts or emails during the crawl. Best to save important interactions for the next day, outside the influence of party spirits.

The Fire Pit: An Enduring Tradition

The Fire Pit: An Enduring Tradition

Author: Abigail Blythe Batton

January 19, 2023- A very long time ago, between 200 and 400 thousand years, the Paleolithic man began socializing with other tribal members around a fire pit. At least that’s what the archeologists say. In two separate locations, one in Israel, and one near the Klassis River in South Africa, researchers found evidence of stone fire pits. 

These were stressful times for a community. They mainly lived in caves or rudimentary huts and spent their days hunting and gathering. This meant they were on the move once they exhausted the supply of berries and greens from their temporary patch. And, barring a successful big game hunt, they were probably hungry. Scientist speculate that the average caloric intake for a Stone Age dweller was just at or under 3000 calories a day, which is considered gluttonous by today’s standards. But that intake must be mitigated by the energetic output. Gathering required constant motion, walking, bending, and reaching. They burned nearly 2,000 calories a day in their quest for food. 

But after a long day in the forest, the makeshift neighbors gathered around the community fire pit. They cooked root vegetables, meat or shellfish over the fire and shared a communal meal before lying down on the Earth for a well-earned night’s sleep.

Today, food typically comes from a bag or box and fire pits are used recreationally. But they still hold that communal magic as a place for people to sit around its warm glow and share stories and adventures. The fire pit is a vital part of community gatherings. Consider that the fire pit market boasted a 677 million dollar market in 2022 and, according to Digital Journal, is expected to grow to over 100 million dollars by 2028.

For outdoor climates, like Florida and California, fire pits can add up to 15% added value to a home because they extend the living space into the back garden. And that’s just the money talk. What about the non-quantifiable benefits of a fire pit on the patio?

Lancaster General Health believes that fire pits “Quiet your thoughts and engage your senses to help keep you in the moment. There’s something mesmerizing about watching flames dance against an evening sky, listening to the soothing crackle of logs burning, inhaling the fragrance of wood smoke, and feeling the warmth on your skin.” But maybe, in hot climates like southern Florida, the idea of cozying up to a hot fire after a day under a hot sun may not generate enthusiasm. However, fire heat may provide health benefits beyond the endorphins produced from loving social interaction.

According to a study conducted by the University of Alabama, sitting near a fire can lower blood pressure. They suspect blood pressure goes down due to the trance-like calmness that comes from watching the flames dance. Fire pits serve another benefit by keeping mosquitos away.

But there are hazards. The US Fire Administration reports that 10 thousand homes a year are burned due to backyard fire pits or grills. These fires mainly occur due to user error or negligence so it’s important to know fire safety when considering a patio fire pit. Among the most common mistakes were wearing flammable material, using liquid accelerants and not being mindful of the direction and velocity of the wind.

Fire pits have been part of man’s journey toward civilization for most of the time humans have lived on the planet. In a culture that can be aggressive or even antagonist, gathering around the fire may be one way to equalize differences and restore community values back into the shared discourse.

From a Frothy Bitter Drink to the Sweet Modern Candy Bar: The Brief Journey of the Cocoa Bean

An 1886 advertisement for chocolate. Credit: Library of Congress

Author: Abigail Blythe Batton

Ever since those clever Aztecs discovered the cocoa bean back in 900 AD the world became a better place. Granted, the Mayan use of the bean pod, which they pounded into a powder and mixed with water, tasted very different from the chocolate concoctions we consume today. For one thing, the drink was spicy, not sweet and this is accounted for by two reasons. One, they added chili peppers to the mixture and, two, there was no sugar in South America at the time of the cocoa bean discovery.

Their technique was to pour the chocolatey drink from one cup to another until a froth appeared on the top. They would stand on a high platform or rock and pour the liquid from one cup into a lower cup on the ground. The distance it traveled would add air to the mixture helping to create the froth.

The drink would taste quite unpleasant to a modern tongue. In fact, the word chocolate comes from the Mayan word xocolatl which translates to “bitter drink.” But the Mayans loved it and considered it a special drink. The drink was highly esteemed and used in religious and civil ceremonies. They referred to it as “the food of the gods” and many of the recovered murals from the time show the cocoa drink being prepared for noteworthy occasions.

One of the great things about xocoltl is that, despite its high regard within the Aztecs, and soon, the Mayan communities, it was a socio-economic equalizer. Everyone had access to the drink, despite their wealth or poverty level. In fact, along with copper, jade and oyster shell beads, the Mayans used cacao beans as currency. This tradition would be repeated during the American revolutionary war when the soldiers were sometimes paid in chocolate.

But it would take a long time for the cocoa bean to make its way to America. Spain seems to be the first European country to be introduced to chocolate. Some say Christopher Columbus brought it back to them from one of his adventures in the early 1500s. Other argue it was Hernan Cortez, another Spanish explorer who was introduced to the drink at Montezuma’s Aztec court. Those following the Cortez story allege that he kept the chocolate a secret but for a select few social aristocrats.

But however it arrived, it was an instant hit and highly sought after. We have the Europeans to thank for the sweet chocolate we all love. While they enjoyed the flavor of the bean, their taste sensibilities didn’t appreciate the bitterness the Aztecs enjoyed. So, in home kitchens across Europe, people began to experiment with the drink, adding sugar, cinnamon, and other secret recipe spices. The drink was very thick and frothy. By the early 1600s, chocolate houses began opening to the elite.

Florida was the first state in America to acquire chocolate. By this time, in 1641, the drink was served sweet and, like in Europe, it became very popular among Floridians. Chocolate slowly migrated from Florida up to Boston with the traders where the first official chocolate house was opened. Chocolate wasn’t consumed as a solid until the late 1700s. Americans tried to manufacture “eating chocolates” but they were gritty and unpleasant to eat. It wasn’t until Swiss chocolatier Francois-Louis Cailler, in 1819, played around with chocolate trying to find a way to make it smoother, that he hit upon the idea of adding cocoa butter to the chocolate. He used a blending machine he called “the conche” to blend the gritty chocolate in with the butter. This revolutionized the industry and was the forebearer of the modern chocolate bar.

Today, the chocolate industry is worth 127.9 billion dollars with Europe leading the production at 45 billion dollars. And, despite its wild popularity in the States, the Swiss are the largest consumers of chocolate at an average of 22 pounds a year per person. Americans eat half that amount at 11 pounds a person per year. Is the country eating the smallest amount of chocolate? China, at only 3.5 grams a person per year. Americans show a slight preference for which type of chocolate is superior with 42% preferring milk chocolate to 58% adoring dark. Despite all the varieties of candy bars available, the highest-selling bar in America is still the gold standard of bars: Hershey’s.

How St. Petersburg Was Almost Called Williamsville

Detroit Hotel

Author: Abigail Blythe Batton

Peter Demens started his life with a good bit of luck. A Russian native, his parents were wealthy and he grew up in the aristocratic echelon of fancy dinners and ballrooms. His luck turned when both his parents died when he was still quite young. But as with every storm cloud, Demens’ silver lining came in the form of cash. Lots of cash. His parents left him a fortune. He stayed in Russia long enough to serve in the Czar’s army but felt politically pinched as he came of age. Demens was a liberal thinker and his particular brand of politics scratched up against Alexander III’s own conservative views. Demens, who was married with four children by 1880, was unceremoniously exiled.

As most adventurous young men did at the time, Demens set his sights on the west. He traveled to America, landing in New York, but, perhaps because he sought warmer climates, or maybe he smelled a money-making venture, he traveled south to Longwood, Florida where he very sensibly invested his money in lumber. While the north was booming with steel and manufacturing, the south still relied on a mostly agrarian income. Tobacco and cotton were the main plants but in order to make them economically viable, the south needed to be able to transport these crops across the nation. This was one of the main thrusts behind the railroad industry.

Because the railroads demanded lumber for their construction, Demens became heavily involved in this new industry. Eventually, he built a station house for the South Florida Railroad and then put his business brain to use by attempting to expand the railway system across Florida. The Orange Belt Railway got as far as Pinellas County where Demens built a station house called Demens Landing Park.  On a modern map of St. Petersburg, the station sat on 1st Avenue South and 9th Street. This corner smacked up against John C. Williams’s 250 acres of waterfront property.

At this time, 1880, Pinellas County was mainly uninhabited but for a general store called Ward’s which sat across from the new station house. Demens had made an agreement with Williams to run the Orange Belt Railway all the way to Tampa but this endeavor proved to be an ambitious one. The Florida landscape was covered in bush, which needed to be cleared in order to construct the roads needed to get materials to the railway line. And as the area became more populated, first with railway and road workers, and then, as the area became less wilderness and more citified, it needed a name. 

Common folklore states that the Williams and Demens agreed to flip a coin for the rights to name the town. If Williams won, he would name it Williamsville and if Demens won, he would name it St. Petersburg after his much-loved childhood home. The loser would get to name the town’s first hotel. After losing the toss, Williams named the hotel Detroit, after his childhood home.

But historians disagree with this account. Apparently, Mr. Ward, the owner of the only shop in town, wanted to name the new city Wardsville. Ward approached Demen’s business partner, Josef Henschen, stating his intentions to name the town Wardsville. Williams put in his bid for Williamsville but because Henschen was a paperwork man, he solicited Federal Post Office and put forward the name St. Petersburg, Florida as his boss desired. Ward kept his general store and Williams got to name the hotel Detroit, where his father had served as that city’s first mayor.

Shortly after naming the town, Demens and his family, in debt from the railroad construction, sold the railway and moved to North Carolina. After a short stay, the family migrated to California where Demens spent his later years helping Russian immigrants assimilate into American culture.


“I’ll Get the Check” How to Manage the Takers in Your Life

It’s no secret that people with money tend to attract people without money.
There becomes a certain social expectation that when the bill arrives, and never
mind if it’s for a toll on a shared trip or an expensive dinner with several courses,
the wealthy or sometimes simply perceived wealthy person will pay.

Oh, there will be pretenses, of course. That awkward pause when the bill is
left lying on the table, an orphan, connected to no one. The person with less money
will then engage in a covert game of chicken. The experienced filcher may feign a
small movement toward a pocket or even fake attempt to make a swipe at the bill.
This is usually followed by an expectant pause when the person with means is
meant to play his or her role by dutifully assuring the other/s that their libations or
food or whatever will be quietly handled by the shiny credit card dislodged from an
expensive leather wallet. Exhales all around.

And this is all fine and good if the affluent person wants to cover the tab in
perpetuity. There is a certain power there. It can be an elegant flex to cover the bill
for a table of less-thans. But at what point does the expectation begin to feel like an
obligation? Or worse, a requirement? And when the table is full of the usual
suspects, those who go in with no pretense that they will share in the cost, well,
enter resentment. Some, who don’t expect to pay, can be quite bold, ordering two or
three drinks, a plate of appetizers, usually, some kind of market price seafood.
Takers, it seems, hold their own brand of power.

And the takers gobble up more than the blue cheese stuffed olive inside the
top shelf martini. Takers are needy. They need attention, advice, and then some
more attention. The wealthy people who are also generous will find their dance
cards full of needy takers. It’s some sort of diseased law of attraction.

So what’s to be done? Certainly, the world needs philanthropy. But is the
affluent person required to meet the needs of the animal hospitals, the domestic
abuse shelters and the club fees for a tag-along buddy on the golf course?

The answer is no. Of course not. Generous people, even those without wealth,
must learn to budget their resources, including emotional expenditures. Good
takers, the one that end up living in the spare bedroom for six months, for example,
understand the balance between ingratiating and demanding. They are skilled
craftsman, tugging on the sympathy thread with such delicacy that the garment of
charity is nearly threadbare before it is even noticed.

So what’s to be done? Bighearted people enjoy sharing. They love the
endorphin rush of rescuing. So maybe that’s the place to start. It’s not necessary to
sweep the takers away in some bold gesture. They will fall away on their own once
they learn that the pocketbook or the always-available listening ear, hold
boundaries. And these boundaries are built each time the giver remembers his or
her own worth. They must understand the movie they star in and surround
themselves with a supporting cast of co-creators. Stephen King famously said that

when examining a story with the characters in mind, one must be brutal. “Anything
that isn’t the story, delete. You must kill your darlings.” A close examination of a
generous life will reveal characters who take without giving. They must be deleted
from future scenes. They will be easy to find, as they will appear in any life scene
where they hope to gain something. The cast of people required for an enriching and
fulfilling life will give in equal measure to their take. Karl Marx, when explaining
robust social exchanges said people must “take according to their need and give
according to their ability.” The cherished people in life are the ones who cherish
back. Charitable people must learn the lesson that saying “no” is sometimes more of
a gift than pulling out the credit card. The expert takers will unhook their tentacles
and slink away to find another source of nourishment leaving the kind-hearted
person resources to give in such a way where there are bountiful returns.